Garnett donates $1.2 million to Katrina relief fund

Updated: November 11, 2005, 7:27 PM ET
Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star Kevin Garnett is joining the long list of professional athletes who are donating to victims of Hurricane Katrina -- in a big, big way.

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Garnett is donating $1.2 million to build homes for victims in the New Orleans area and throughout the Gulf Coast region that was leveled by the hurricane in August.

"I knew I wanted to do something," Garnett said after practice Friday. "But I didn't know in detail what I wanted to do."

Garnett is teaming with Oprah Winfrey's Angel Network charity foundation on the project. Garnett said he chose Winfrey's foundation because 100 percent of his donation will go toward the victims.

"The fact that she pays the overhead of her employees and the foundation itself and just goes out and makes dreams come true ... I think it makes it more beneficial," Garnett said. "It's a good thing."

The former MVP certainly has the means at his disposal to make an impact. He has twice signed NBA contracts topping $100 million, in addition to his millions in endorsement deals.

Garnett said he has always been a big fan of giving to charity even dating back to his days growing up poor in Mauldin, S.C., but he never dreamed of one day being able to make such a sizable donation.

"I never would have imagined it being on this kind of scale," Garnett said. "Even back in school, whether it was 10 cents or 20 cents to get an extra milk or an extra tea, that's just the way I am.

"I'm from the bottom, I understand what it's like to have and to not have. My perception on giving is to put yourself in those people's shoes and go from there. So that's what I did."

Though he does not have any family members or close friends who were directly affected by the disaster, Garnett said he felt a kinship with the victims.

"I'm from the South, though, and I know how hard the South is," Garnett said. "A lot of things that go on up North, there's a lot more opportunity. In the South, there's not as much opportunity and I know it's going to be a dramatic and drastic transition to turn that city around."

His donation will build one house a month for the next two years and was featured on Winfrey's talk show on Thursday. Garnett did not appear live on the show, but did tape a vignette to surprise Winfrey, who was clearly appreciative of the gift.

"It's just good to know that people actually appreciate when you do give," Garnett said. "I'm not the one for a lot of publicity, I'm not one to put myself out there with what I do, but in this case, I hope that it motivates others to give."

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press